What We’ve Lost… is Stopping Points (insight from Tony Schwartz)

In my old life, when I was in ministry, it look a lot of intellectual and emotional energy to preach a new sermon every week (many times, 2-3 new sermons per week).  And, the moment one sermon was finished, I had to work on the next one…

In other words, I was never “finished.”  I could never “stop.”

Tony Schwartz writes about this in his HBR article, The Magic of Doing One Thing at a Time.  Here’s a key quote:

What we’ve lost, above all, are stopping points, finish lines and boundaries. Technology has blurred them beyond recognition. Wherever we go, our work follows us, on our digital devices, ever insistent and intrusive. It’s like an itch we can’t resist scratching, even though scratching invariably makes it worse.

It’s the first line that is the best:  “What we’ve lost, above all, are stopping points, finish lines and boundaries.”

A preacher I knew used to print the church bulletin every week.  He would print it on Friday nights.  I mean an old, get ink all over your fingers kind of printing.  I asked him once why he did not have someone else print the bulletin.  He said, “I want to do one thing a week that, when it is done, I know I finished something.”

Don’t we all wish for that? – some kind of stopping point, when we can say, “I finished that.”

Feeling “never finished” really can make you tired and less productive.

Read the Schwartz article.  Think about your own work habits.  We all need to find ways to build in regular stopping points.  They might just make us easier to get along with, a little more sane, and a lot more productive.

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